He wants his Pic-A-Nic Basket . . .

Today was going to be a daytrip day so I was up about 8:45, too early, since I didn’t get to sleep until about 3am. The things I do for Nick.

Jan and I started out with cheese toast made with some of the fresh-baked bread that Terry Russell brought over last night, which almost made up for Nick’s idea for us to leave at 10am. Some days I’m not even up at 10.

Our first stop was the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, IN.

Indiana Welcome Center

Besides being a very nice Welcome Center, its real claim to fame is the fact that it houses the John Dillinger Museum. You’ve gotta like a place whose motto is “Crime Doesn’t Pay…But It Does Charge Admission”.

They have an really amazing amount of Dillinger memorabilia, including the wooden gun he carved from a broomstick for an earlier jail escape, and the pants he was wearing when he was killed.

He was killed in front of the Biograph Theater in Chicago after being ‘fingered’ by Anna Sage, the infamous ‘Lady in Red’. In reality, she actually wore an orange dress, but I guess ‘Lady in Orange’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

This is an example of Dillinger’s favorite escape vehicle, a 1933 Essex Terraplane 8, renowned for its power and speed.

Dillinger Car


They also had a very nice display of the many types of weapons that Dillinger and his gang liked to use.

Like Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, who really did not say “I rob banks because that’s where the money is”, Dillinger and his cohorts DID rob police stations because that’s where the guns were.

Dillinger Guns

One of his real favorites was the .45 cal Thompson Submachine Gun, as displayed 2nd and 3rd from the top in this photo.

Strangely enough, it’s also Jan’s weapon of choice as well.

Jan And Her Thompson 2

Though Jan prefers the magazine-fed model, rather than the drum-fed, because it’s less likely to jam.

Dillinger Drum Mag

And while we’re being picky, this not a Thompson ‘clip’. It is a Thompson Drum Magazine. Unclear about the difference between a Magazine and a Clip? This should make it clear.


But for what it’s worth, Willie Sutton also carried a Thompson on many of his bank robberies, because he said, “You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality,”

He further said that none of his weapons were ever loaded because “somebody might get hurt.”


Leaving the Welcome Center, we headed east to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Welcome Center to get our National Park Passports stamped and to look around.

Later it was on to Michigan City, IN so Nick could check out the storefront of a kite place that he found at the Shipshewana Flea Market last Wednesday. He even got to try out a couple of models on the Lake Michigan beachfront.

About 5pm we headed back to Elkhart and had dinner once again at King Wha, a really good Chinese place. I’m gradually working my way up their hot sauce scale. This time they used two extra hot sauce amounts when cooking my Hunan Chicken. Next time I’m going for three.

Either they’ll run out of hot sauce, or my head will explode. We’ll see which one comes first.


Apparently Yogi was wandering around Daytona Beach, FL looking for Boo Boo and his Pic-A-Nic basket, but decided to take a short nap in a hammock in someone’s yard.

Yogi Bear in Daytona

Those short naps are so refreshing.


Thought for the Day:

My imaginary friend thinks that yours have a problem.


Waiting for Change . . .

I spent most of this morning hobbling around and trying to stay off my feet, or specifically my right knee. Once it a while it goes out on me, and this time has been worse than most.

I’ve been banged up a lot in my life, but, between football and parachute jumps that didn’t quite go as planned, my right knee and leg got it worse than the rest. So sometimes I pay the price of my wild and crazy youth.

Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be on the mend.

About 2:30 Nick and I drove over to Phoenix Commercial Paint , Michelle Henry’s RV Paint facility. Michelle is well-known in the RV world as one of the best places to get your RV painted or customized. If you want a new paint job, Michelle is the person to see.

But today, I wanted to talk to Josh, to see about getting my cracked passenger side windshield replaced. Looks like everything’s now in motion. One thing I want to do is to pull out both the good driver side glass, and the cracked passenger side so the gasket can be replaced. American Coach recommend that be done, since the one on there now is 15 years old and becoming stiff and brittle.

Unfortunately we will probably have to put Beauty in the shop to have this done.

About 5:30 Nick and Terry, and Jan and I, drove over to George’s Gyros, a place recommended by Chris and Charles Yust of C and C RV Insurance fame. Nick and Terry had eaten there with them, and now it was our turn.

George's Gyros 1

George’s Gyros (pronounced ‘your rows’, not ‘gy rows’) has a distinct Greek flavor. With pita bread, Greek olives, and feta cheese, you can indulge your taste for Greek salads and food. But they’re also known for their Rib Tips, BBQ Ribs, BBQ Chicken, Chicken Wings, and Burgers.

Jan, Terry, and I got the Gyro and Spinach Pie Plate below.

George's Gyros 2

Of course, meat and potatoes Nick got a double-cheeseburger and fries. Just no sense of adventure.

For the gyros, you use the pita bread like tortillas, putting the gyro meat inside. along with tomatoes, sliced onions, peppers, and gyro sauce (a yogurt/sour cream mixture). Just like we do with fajitas down in Houston. The gyro meat is delicious. Really good.


Jan’s sister, Debbie sent over this X-Ray of her granddaughter Ella.

Ella apparently decided to be her own piggybank, and recently made her first deposit.

A quarter.

Well, you have to start somewhere.

Ella's X-Ray2

They’re still waiting for change.


I got several emails yesterday about my Photoshop (well, Paint Shop Pro) tutorial. And today I came across this illustration,

It had the heading “When you see the creepy thing, hit share.” Well, to save you the trouble, the ‘creepy thing’ is the disembodied hand on the right arm of the little girl.

Creepy Family Photo3

I figure she was crying in the original shot, so someone took her from another shot and put her in this one. Don’t know why they left the hand. Maybe thought no one would notice, or ran out of time.

Anyway, even without the spooky hand, you can tell this has been Photoshopped by looking at the blowup of the photo below.

The vertical bar in the center of the pic is a dead giveaway. You never really have abrupt transitions like this without some sort of anti-aliasing (the gradual transition of color from one pixel to another)

Creepy Family Photo6

Look at the pixels over the rest of the photo and you’ll see what I mean.


Tomorrow it looks like a road trip to Michigan City, Indiana. Assuming I can still walk.


Thought for the Day:

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” — George Orwell


Now you see her. Now you don’t . . .

Jan and I once again sat outside with our coffee, and the last of our Martin’s muffins. We kind of thought about walking, but figured we had done our part yesterday walking the Shipshewana Flea Market.

Mister was outside with us as usual, but his little buddy Nick was sleeping in, so Mister was on his own. I took a close-up picture of his new tag, but this evening when I started the blog,  I found that it was obscured by the grass he was lying in. So I did a quick cleanup in Paint Shop Pro (a Photoshop clone). Wouldn’t hold up to really close inspection. For that I’d have to work at the pixel level, but that’s very time-consuming.

Mister's New Tag 1      Mister's New Tag

On another level, below is one I did about 15 years ago. This photo was taken down in Florida and was supposed to Jan’s mother Trudy, on the left, and the three daughters. Debbie, on the right, Jan, next, and then Beverly next to Jan.

However, Beverly insisted that her jailbird friend Josie, also be in the photo.

Jan's Family 1      Jan's Family 2

So back home in Texas, I proceeded to remove Josie from the photo as depicted above. This took several hours to complete. It’s not really hard to do, more like just tedious.


Around 2:30, I saw that my Amazon order had arrived at the park office, so I drove up to pick it up, as well as a bag of ice.

Getting back home I spend about 30 minutes putting together our new kitchen cart, which came out looking like this.

New Kitchen Cart 2

Since when we travel, the slide comes in where the cart is, it will be wheeled into the bedroom hallway and the wheels locked.


I’ve been getting some really amazing speeds on the Verizon 4G system around here. This reading was done over in Shipshewana yesterday.

SpeedTest 35Mbs

Note the download speed was over 35 Mbps. The most I’ve had previously was about 20 Mbps.

Don’t know if this has anything to do with Verizon’s recently announced XLTE upgrade which is supposed to be 2X the standard LTE. In fact, from what I’ve read, I’m not sure that my almost 3 year old Samsung Droid Charge is capable of the XLTE speeds.

Tomorrow I’m going to check out a repair to see about getting the rig’s passenger side windshield replaced.

Thought of the Day:

Take offs are optional. Landings are not.


Fat and Happy . . .

As usual we started out with coffee this morning, but didn’t sit outside since it had rained last night so all our chairs were wet.

We pretty much goofed off all morning before setting up a get-together time for this afternoon with Nick and Terry. About noon, I tried out our new Toaster Oven by making Jan some cheese toast for lunch. So far, so good.

At least as far as cheese toast goes.

About 1pm, Jan and I, and Nick and Terry, headed over to the Shipshewana area and the Flea Market there.

Shipshewana Market 1

Shipshewana Market 2

We spent several hours walking up and down the myriad of rows, and only covered a small part of it. Jan bought some specialty breads and some Skin So Soft. And I found a couple of tools, and Mister got a new engraved collar tag.

After the Flea Market, we stopped off at E & S Sales, a local Amish bulk food market, where Terry found a few things.

While we were in the area, Nick dropped off some bundles of Gypsy Journals at a couple of local RV Parks.

Then it was on back to the Elkhart/Goshen for dinner at Mancino’s Pizza. We had eaten here a few days ago with Dave and Lyn Cross, and it was just as good the second time. And again, we have leftovers.

As we left the restaurant, Nick noticed this large groundhog about 100 yards away in a big field across the street.. I think fat and happy about covers it.

Mancino's Gopher 1

Mancino's Gopher 2

Of course that about covers Nick and I too.

We got home about 7 pm after a really nice day with good friends.


Many of you know about the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo, and their 72 oz. Steak Challenge.

If you can eat a 72 oz. steak, as well as a Shrimp Cocktail, a Baked Potato, and Salad, and a Roll and Butter, and if you can eat it all within one hour, then your $72 cost is refunded. And yes, you have to pay up front.

Well, this is Molly Schuyler. She’s 5’ 7” tall and weighs 125 lbs.

Recently she set not one, but two new Big Texan records.

Molly - Big Texan 1

She ate the first meal in 4 minutes 58 seconds, a new Big Texan record.

Then, apparently still feeling a bit peckish, she ate a second meal, but this time taking a whole 9 minutes 59 seconds. Thus establishing a new record for eating two complete meals in less than an hour.

You can see a video of her performance here.

You can follow our visit to the Big Texan in June of 2010 here. Check it out.

Tomorrow looks to be goof-off day. Looking forward to it.


Thought for the Day:

When I’m not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded.


Mister and his little buddy . . .

I didn’t finally get to bed until about 3 this morning, so I slept in until about 11. Then Jan and I headed out for our walk about 11:30. It was really nice this morning, mostly cloud with a nice breeze.

Getting back from our walk, we sat outside with our coffee and the last of the delicious blueberry buckle that Terry made the other day. Nick and Terry came over while we sat out, so Mister had a nice time with his ‘little buddy’.

Mister and Nick at Elkhart2

Mister and Nick at Elkhart3

At least, that what Mister calls him.

A little later, the wind picked up so Nick decided to try out his Snapshot kite.

Nick's Kite 1

The Snapshot is one of those aerobatic kites that is controlled with two lines and can make very precise maneuvers, but it really needs a lot wind to handle correctly.

Nick's Kite 2

But unfortunately, the wind died out after about 15 minutes and that was it for kite flying for the day.

About 2pm Jan and I headed out for some shopping. We are looking a small shelf unit or cart to go at the end of the kitchen part of the slide. But it has to be moveable so the slide can come in. I think I’ve found something on Amazon, but thought we’d check locally before we ordered it.

But our stops at Lowe’s and Menard’s didn’t yield anything we liked, so I’ll order it online when we get home. Should be here Thursday.

On the way home we made a quick stop at Martin’s for a few things for our get-together tonight. Then it was back to the rig so Jan could prepare her Twice-Baked Potato Casserole and Garlic French Bread for tonight’s meal.

She was also nice enough to tell me to go take a nap, but I think it was just to get me out of her hair for a while. ‘Me time’, she calls it.

I don’t care what she calls it. I got a nap.

Terry Russell had spent the afternoon smoking several racks of ribs in her smoker after marinating them overnight. She also made Black Beans (from scratch, no less) and pico de gallo.

And joining us tonight was Al Hasselbart, the official Historian of the RV Museum here in Elkhart. We’ve known Al for a number of years, and it’s always fun to get together.

And along with Jan’s Twice-Baked Potato Casserole and Garlic French Bread, we ate until we hurt. In fact so much that no one wanted ‘dessert, or even ask about it.

Finishing up for today, I found a new toy. It’s a set of 3 remote controllable AC outlets, and two remotes. Each remote can control any switch and it has about a 60 foot ranges.


Super Switch Indoor Wireless Remote Control

Each outlet can handle 1000 Watts so it should be pretty reliable. I’ve got some ideas about how I want to use them, so I’ll let you know how they work.

Tomorrow, Shipshewana, maybe? We’ll see.

Thought for the Day:

I didn’t say it was your FAULT. I just said I was going to blame YOU.


When 38 won’t go into 34 . . .

After talking with Nick and Terry we decided to do hot dogs and brats on the grill this evening, so we will pick up some stuff for this.

About 1pm Jan and I drove over to the nearby Wal-Mart for groceries and stuff. And one of  the ‘stuffs’ we picked up was a new Farberware Countertop Convection Oven like this one, except ours is black.

Faberware Countertop Oven

And it even has a rotisserie. Not that I ever think we’ll use it.

Faberware Countertop Oven 2

We tend not to do a lot of rotisseriering. But Jan is giddy over her new toy.

It’s also NOT digital which has caused us problems on the last two toaster ovens we’ve had.

Leaving Wal-Mart we stopped off at Martin’s Grocery to pick some other things. From there we got a couple of fresh salad items, i.e. Steakhouse Potato Salad and Broccoli and Cheese Salad. We also picked up a Coconut Cream Pie for Terry, Jan and I, and a Lemon Pie for Nick, who doesn’t like coconut.

For us, we got some of their fresh muffins for breakfast the rest of the week.

About 5:30 we headed next door and got the hot dogs and brats on the grill. It was a perfect evening for it, with most of the holiday rigs having left the park for parts unknown.

The food was great, and the dessert a little later inside, was really good too. All in all, a very nice day.

Here’s a couple of videos I thought ya’ll might enjoy.

Salut Salon. A really great quartet. And funny too.


Why 38 won’t go into 34. Do the Math.

There is a rumor going around that Miss Terry will be smoking ribs tomorrow. We’ll have to see how that pans out.

Thought for the Day:

I have a mind like a steel…thingmabob…you know…doohickey.


Slip Slidin’ Away . . .

Once again we walked this morning, bumping it up a little further in distance. The weather was perfect and it was good to see how full the park is with all the holiday weekend visitors. And still no shouting, no fights, or no gunshots. It’s all good.

Getting back from our walk, we sat outside with our coffee, along with Nick and Terry, for a while until we lost the shade. Then it just got too hot.

About 2 pm we all headed over to Mishawaka for shopping and dinner. Our first stop was the Sam’s Club for a few things for Jan and I. While I was there, it was time to renew my membership, and this time I decided to upgrade to a Plus membership. It costs an additional $55, from $45 to $100, but it will pay for itself in about 3 months on prescription savings. I recently found out that besides Wal-Mart’s (Sam’s) $4 prescription list, there is a second additional list for Plus Card members.

In this case, Jan’s Lipitor generic is normally $90 for 3 months. But if you have the Plus membership, it is $11.87 a month or $35. 61 for 3 months, a savings of  $54.39. Which pretty much pays for the $55 a year extra cost. The other 9 months are just gravy. Check it out.

Leaving Sam’s, we drove over to the nearby Bargain Books, a used book store that we’ve visited before, and always enjoy. They have great selection and pretty good prices.

Finally our hunger drove us (well, Nick drove us) right down the road to the new Golden Corral. At least new to us. It wasn’t here last year.

This new one is much bigger than other Golden Corral’s we’ve seen, with a much bigger parking lot. We could have easily parked our rigs there.

The place was pretty busy, but we only had to wait in line about 5 minutes to get in. But the best thing was that the food was really, really good. Everything was hot and fresh, and kept well stocked. We all left very full.

In fact, so full, I think everyone took a nap when we got home. I know I did.

Lowell posted these shots of Landon and his friend Ruthie enjoying their SlipNSlide in the backyard. Looks like fun.

Landon on SlipNSlide 2

Landon on SlipNSlide 1

As far as I know we don’t have anything planned for tomorrow, but you never know.


Thought for the Day:

I didn’t want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
— Agatha Christie


The Smell of Campfires . . .

The aroma of charcoal lighter fluid.

The screaming of kids.

That means that it’s a holiday weekend, and the campers are out in droves. But overall it’s been pretty quiet so far. We have a large camper next door, along with a large tent full of kids. Looks like several families together.

But unlike past experiences, everyone’s been well-behaved. Even the parents. A pleasant change.


Our son Chris and his family are spend the weekend up at Inks Lake near Burnet, TX, so he’s getting a chance to try out his sailboat .

Chris' New Boat at Inks LakeLooks like the weather is pretty good.


While we were at the Old Bag Factory yesterday, we checked out a charity thrift store. Nick found a camera tripod, and I got a Lava Lamp.

Lava Lamp

Not a bad deal for $2. Makes a nice night light in the coach.


When I went out to get something from the back of our truck today, I discovered that sometime in the last two weeks, since we left the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, someone hit the rear bumper, causing enough damage to push the bumper into the tailgate preventing it from being lowered.

Truck Bumper

I know it took place since we left Lake Conroe because that was the last time I used the tailgate. And it looks like it was maybe a week ago at least, due to the amount of rust.


I had to say some last words this afternoon for our late, beloved Black & Decker Convection/Toaster Oven. It was Jan’s Christmas present in 2011 and it’s always worked great until now.

But this morning, a couple of minutes after I started our English muffins, all of a sudden, the magic smoke came billowing out the side vent where the electronics reside. And its little light blinked off for the very last time.

B&D Toaster Oven

Because, as everyone knows, when the magic smoke escapes, that’s all there is.

It will be missed. At least until we visit Wal-Mart tomorrow.

The oven is dead. Long live the oven.


Thought of the Day:

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies." – Groucho Marx


What weighs 964 pounds?

Jan and I finally got back to walking this morning, the first time since we left Galveston Bay RV Resort in late February. With all the stuff about Jan’s health scare and moving  every two weeks, it just kind of slipped off the schedule. But we’re going to try to get back on a every other day schedule again.

We used the Android/iPhone app RunKeeper to chart our distance, and as it turns out, the big circle around around the Elkhart Campground here is almost exactly a 1/2 mile. So we did one loop to start with today, and then we’ll bump it up pretty quickly.

When we started our walk, l starting the coffee going so as soon as we got back, we sat outside and had our coffee and muffins. And of course Mister was right there with us. And Nick.

Mister and Nick at Elkhart

About 1pm, Nick and Terry, and Jan and I headed over to Goshen to visit the Old Bag Factory.

Old Bag Factory

Originally built in 1896 as the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company, it was purchased in 1910 by the Chicago-Detroit Bag Company, then in 1924 by the Chase Bag Company. It was the largest of the company’s 15 plants around the country.

This plant was their ‘specialty’ plant, manufacturing things like printed burlap bags,

Old Bag Factory 10


to the little paper plumes for the Hersey’s Kisses wrappers.

Old Bag Factory 5

Old Bag Factory 9

45,000 pounds a month of these! That’s a lot of Kisses.

But the plant finally shut down in 1982 before later being resurrected as the Old Bag Factory, a haven for artists, craftsman, and merchants, in 2010.

Old Bag Factory 2

The place is 4 stories of shops, studios, businesses, and even an event center for weddings and meetings.

Old Bag Factory 3

As far as What Weighs 964 Pounds?

964 pounds

Apparently the 4 of us do. But personally I think the scale’s broke. At least I hope so.


Old Bag Factory 4

This chair is made up of strung-together wood tiles, and is much more comfortable than you might think.


Old Bag Factory 6


Outside, they had one of the floral Quilt Gardens that been done around Goshen.

Old Bag Factory 7

Unfortunately it’s hard to see from the ground angle.

After a nice visit here at the Old Bag Factory, we headed a ways down the road to check out the parking at the Wal-Mart.

Well, the Amish buggy parking anyway.

Amish Buggy Parking - Goshen

Many businesses in the area have accommodations for the Amish buggies, from hitching posts and rails, to full-on barns and stalls like the above.

We’ve even seen Amish buggies in the drive-thru line at the local McDonald’s.

Our last stop on today’s excursion was the South Side Soda Shop.

South Side Soda Shop

Originally built as a grocery store in the early 1900’s, it began its transformation to a diner in the 1940’s with installation of a soda fountain. And then just evolved from there.

As well as winning awards for their Chili and Lemon Meringue Pie, they’ve been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and other Food Network shows.

Really, really good food.

And after a very nice day with great friends and good food, we finally made it home about 6:30.

Now to plan tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

"From the moment I was six I felt sexy. And let me tell you it was hell, sheer hell, waiting to do something about it." – Bette Davis


Never left the Rig . . .

Short blog today.

Jan and I never left the rig.

Just turned off the AC, opened the windows, and enjoyed the cool temperatures.

We read, played on the computer, and watched TV.

Can’t get any better than this.

Hopefully we’ll actually do something tomorrow so I can write about it.


Thought for the Day:

"Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it." – Lewis Carroll